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Holy Week

Holy Week Readings

In most Orthodox Churches, an expectation to read the four Gospels during Holy Week has become the standard. In the Coptic Orthodox Church, an added expectation of reading Psalms on Good Friday emerged. This should not come as a surprise. Jewish mourners often read Psalms between the time of an individual’s death and their burial. On the Apocalypse vigil, Copts read the book of Revelation as well. Considering the vigil’s focus on Christ being in Hades to free the souls of saints who are now in paradise, reading Revelation makes sense.

Reading Time

You would be surprised as to how possible this practice is if you have the week off. The Four Gospels can be read in full in about 8.5-10 hours. Reading Psalms takes about 5 hours. Revelation can be read in less than 1.5 hours. This is a total of 16.5 hours of reading at most. You have 112 waking hours per week if you sleep 8 hours a day. This is very much attainable if you use your time wisely.

If, like many people, you are working, strive to read at least one of these books. I would recommend Psalms. You get to read Scripture and pray simultaneously (two birds with one stone). Indeed, you can do that with every book of Scripture. But Psalms make it easier because Psalms are already written in the form of prayer. This means one hour of reading Scripture every day for five days from today until Friday.

An Alternative

For the rest of the books, consider consulting this series I wrote last lent. It will give you a distilled version of Jesus’ portrait in each of these books:




Bonus: Acts



I know Acts was not part of the deal. But to be fair, it is part two of Luke’s Gospel so I could not resist.

Psalms Protip

This leaves you with Psalms to read this Holy Week. Here is a protip by St. Augustine on how to read Psalms. Even though Psalms were written well before the incarnation, St. Augustine applies all Psalms to the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. If the Psalmist is speaking of being righteous and innocent before God, then take this to be Christ speaking as our sinless and divine head. If the Psalmist is speaking of being sinful and unworthy before God, take this to be Christ speaking on behalf of the Church, that is His body. In the Psalms, you encounter the whole Christ, head and body.

Blessed Holy Week to all Eastern Christians celebrating our Lord’s Passover!

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